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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2006

GOV 312L • Issues and Policies in American Government

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37665 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
PAI 3.02

Course Description

"Hard power" - i.e., military ì responses in the War on Terrorism generate the lion's share of media coverage and attract the majority of academic attention. However, other kinds of "soft power" responses such as foreign economic assistance, nation building efforts and public diplomacy have also been identified in the U.S. National Security Strategy (, p. 6) as important policy tools. This course is focused around understanding the contexts, operational, and strategic policies that center on the development of and increasingly important applications of these tools for advancing US foreign and security policy goals. In the first part of the course you will trace how the nature of the most dangerous threats to US security changed from sovereign states towards sub-state and transnational actors. You will learn how terrorist and other groups have adapted to the internet and other communications technologies to create a very different kind of decentralized, "networked" threat to US interests, and the implications of that change for US grand strategy in foreign relations. In the second part of the course we will evaluate how well the US has, to date, adapted for achieving the U.S. National Security Strategy's goal of "wag[ing] a war of ideas to win the battle against international terrorism." Specifically, we will examine US nation building, postconflict reconstruction, public diplomacy and foreign assistance policies and outcomes, and how well these soft power tools have been coordinated with hard power tools in the War on Terrorism.

Grading Policy

Your grade in this course will be based on two mid-term exams and a final. All will share the same format: multiple choice questions plus short answer and/or structured essay questions. Each exam will count for one-third of your course grade.


Nye, Joseph S. 2004. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs (member of Perseus Books Group). Lennon, Alexander T. J. (Editor). 2003. The Battle for Hearts and Minds: Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks (a Washington Quarterly Reader). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Arquilla, John and David F. Ronfeldt. 1999. The Emergence of Noopolitik: The Emergence of an American Information Strategy. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Additional readings will be assigned and made available either online or in a reading packet.


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